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HKU organises event to spark STEAM interest among youth

To acknowledge that music, an integral part of human existence, is an essential element in building emotional intelligence and interpretative skills, the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Arts & Technology Education Centre (ATEC) jointly organised a Music Show, Exhibition and Award Presentation Ceremony for the Musical Instrument Design Competition.

The event was aimed at sparking students’ and public interest in STEAM (A for Arts) and to strengthen participants’ abilities to integrate and apply knowledge and skills in engineering,

The primary objective of the competition is to enhance the knowledge of and interest in the engineering of creating artefacts for humanistic expression among the young generation. It also encourages the use of innovative technologies and creative design ideas.

The competition is under the project titled “The Science and Engineering of Sound and Music”, which was supported by the Knowledge Exchange Fund of the University Grant Committee.

Over 400 participants from primary, secondary and international schools with students from Primary 2 to Secondary 6 joined the competition. They were required to design and implement a device that is capable of producing sound and can be used as a musical instrument.

The students showed off their musical skills by performing with their finished product in a live session. They competed for the Champion, first runner-up, second runner-up, the most innovative musical instrument award, the most attractive musical instrument award, the best presentation award and the outstanding performance award as set out for the primary and secondary school categories respectively.

From November 2018 to February 2019, a series of talks and workshops were organised to allow the students to ponder over what music is, explore the science of sound, and use technologies such as 3D printing and laser cutting, to enable them to make innovative and attractive musical instruments. A number of musicians in the industry were also invited to share their experience with the participants.

At the award presentation ceremony, the HKU Dean of Engineering stated that all the participating students were impressive and demonstrated creative ideas in this competition.

It is hoped that by participating in this competition, students will gain more knowledge about science and music and technologies like 3D printing or laser cutting, which will boost their interests in engineering.

The principal of Arts & Technology Education Centre officiated at the ceremony. He was impressed by the creativity and perseverance of the students.

STEM key to HK Smart City goals

A report noted that successful smart cities require a tech-savvy workforce highly-skilled in science and technology. They are what a government study on the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong calls “smart people”.

The Blueprint outlines specific policy objectives, including the facilitation of “lifelong learning for individuals in the public and private sector, youth to elderly, about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)”.

So as the aspiration of being a smart city is embraced by government, STEM education is imperative.

In 2017, a questionnaire was conducted among all primary and secondary schools. More than 2,500 replies were received, of which 93.1 per cent supported the enrichment of learning activities for pupils, and 95.5 per cent the enhancement of professional development of teachers.

Over the last two years, therefore, the government worked to encourage wider interest in STEM subjects among the youth of Hong Kong.

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